Gujarat Lions (GL) assistant coach Mohammed Kaif feels that injury to a player of the calibre of Dwayne Bravo at the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season, and later to Brendon McCullum and Andrew Tye, disrupted the team’s plans and performance.
On the eve of their match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), who have kept their play-off hopes alive unlike the Gujarat Lions, Kaif said that all the injured player were proven match winners and their absence affected the team and its overall strategy.
Gujarat Lions, with just three wins, had a horrible time with many of the key players getting injured in the middle of the tournament. While McCullum pulled out after a hamstring injury, Tye dislocated his shoulder in the match against Mumbai Indians (MI).
“Injury is something that you can’t really help,” said Kaif. “With such an intense tournament which involves travelling and back-to-back matches it does sometimes takes toll on the body. Bravo is an all-rounder who can bowl, bat and field so yes we missed him. Even Ravindra Jadeja missed the first two matches.”
Kaif, elaborating on Bravo’s absence, said that with the uncertainty on if he will be available or not also might have affected the franchise’s plans to find a suitable replacement.
“We had a player in mind but I can’t say the name. Bravo is a proven match winners and can’t be replaced. We thought he might play some matches but in the end he decided not to risk. All you can do is keep a daily tab on progress but ultimately it is between the player and physio. Somehow, if we had some early warning, we might have made plans and could have had one more player,” added Kaif.
“We have professional trainers and physio and every one of them have been playing cricket for long. They are all senior players but at the end of the day a player knows his body and what’s best for him. When to play or rest. It’s disappointing to have so many injuries,” Kaif said.